Theindustrial revolution after the end of the civil war introduced a newdawn in America. The new dawn was ear marked with several changes andaspects in the way of doing things and forever changed the life ofthe Americans. Some changes brought good changes while other broughtin negative changes. The industrial revolution in America wascharacterized by the railway construction, changes in agriculture andthe coming up of labor unions. These three aspects ofindustrialization affected three groups of the American society,these are namely: the Immigrants, African-Americans and the women.Overall industrialization changed the lives of the average Americanworkers and industries and factories became the order of the day inmodern day America. In this essay, the author will highlight thethree aspects of industrialization in America and delve into howthese changes affected the lives of three groups in the society.Finally, the author will describe how the live of the averageAmerican workers changed as a result of Industrialization.
Therailroad construction was the most notable change that could beattributed to the industrial movement in America. Prior to the civilwar in the country, only 30,000 miles of railroad track had been laiddown, however after the end of the civil war the country experiencedtremendous changes as the Midwest was connected to the west and majorparts of the country were covered with rail road tracks. Before, therailway road was put in place, American depended on wagons, coachesand horses to ferry goods from one point to another. This processwould usually take days accumulating or weeks and even sometimesmonth long journeys as people sought to move from one part of thecountry to another. However, the introduction of the railway roadmade commuting easier especially when it came to the transportationof raw materials from the Midwest and western parts of the country.The Midwest was rich in agricultural resources while the west wasrich in mineral resources [ CITATION Bak92 l 1033 ].The construction of the railway line meant that commuting time hadbeen drastically reduced. Americans spent less time on transit andwere productive in building their nation as travel time was reducedto days and not weeks or even months. This change meant thatAmericans standards of living had improved and also translated tothem getting better jobs in other parts of the country since Americawas now accessible. The industrial movementalso brought in another changes in the U.S economy, the agriculturalsector. While the U.S was heavily dependent on agriculture,industrialization ensured that agriculture was carried out in adifferent way that it was in the former years. Industrializationmeant that there was heavy use of machinery and large tracts of landcould be utilized for farming as the farm implements were lessdependent on human effort. The government also played a huge role inensuring that the mechanization of American farms took shape. Forexample, the government gave out over 160 acres of land to Americanswho were willing to stay in their farms for at least five years andcarry out some farming activities. As a result, farmers were now ableto produce more food for the nation through the use of machines. Asmentioned earlier, the industrial movement in America made thecountry more accessible and this translated to better jobopportunities however the working conditions left a lot to be desiredof the new industrial change. As a result, labor unions in Americawere formed in order to address the work conditions of Americanworkers in the country. The first of the labor unions to be formed inthe country was the Knight of labor which was established in 1869with over 50,000 members who were either skilled or unskilled. Thelabor unions demanded an eight hour working day and also halted theuse of child labor in factories. However, it is important to notethat some professions such as bankers and doctors were not allowed toform their own labor unions as they were not perceived to make acontribution to the nation.
Thereis no doubt that the industrial movement in America had an impact onthe American society especially in reference to three groups:Immigrants, African Americans and women. Industrialization meant morefactory jobs were available as a result there was an influx ofimmigrants from other countries such as Europe with the quest forgreener pastures. America was growing at faster rate than theirpopulation and there was a shortage of labor and immigration was theonly solution to the problem. With the abolition of slave trade afterthe civil war in 1865, African American had to make a choice betweenstaying in their farms or look for factory jobs in the city. Womenwere not also left behind in the movement as they had to work inorder to support their families due to the raised standards of livingin the country. However, women were not treated fairly as their malecounterparts as they had to accept less compensation [ CITATION Vri94 l 1033 ].
Whileit is evident that industrialization led to better living standardsfor the American population, the heavy use of machinery and themushrooming of industries all over the country led to deplorableworking conditions for the workers. The high living standards meantthat affordability of housing was an issue and therefore slums slowlydeveloped in urban cities such as New York. There were increasedcases of pollution and as a result the average working Americancontracted tuberculosis due to environment degradation, poor housingand overcrowding in major cities [ CITATION Maj86 l 1033 ].
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